|J A M M U C
& CK A S H M I R
Sunday, April 4, 1999
Lahore pact fails to check
plan to boost tourism
alleges wastage of central funds
Khan decries J&K Budget
fails to check violence
JAMMU, April 3 If the militancy-related incidents of violence are any indication situation in Jammu and Kashmir has worsened after India and Pakistan signed the Lahore Declaration. The hopes of an improvement in the security environment following the Delhi-Lahore bus journey by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, termed by political analysts as "bus diplomacy" have been belied the way the Pakistan-backed insurgents have stopped up violence in different parts of the state in the last 42 days of the Lahore agreement.
Though the Lahore Declaration had no specific provision for halting material and moral aid to the militants from Islamabad it was hoped that Pakistan would respond to India's offer of friendship by directing the militants to stop carrying out killings of civilians and security personnel.
According to the official sources in the past 42 days the state had registered 30 bombs and grenade explosions. There were as many as 110 incidents of crossfire between the security forces and the militants in which 35 security personnel had lost their lives.
As a result of escalation in the militancy-related incidents insurgents killed 85 civilians in different parts of the state which included the massacre of a woman and her three daughters in the Surankot area of Poonch on Friday. The militants barged into the house of Mohd Zaman and slit the throat of his wife, Barkat Bi and his three daughters. They bled to death before the security forces arrived on the scene.
The security forces also launched several anti-insurgency operations in which more than 110 militants were killed during the period. Those killed included as many as six area and district commanders of a couple of militant outfits.
Since the Lahore Declaration the rate of inflation from across the border had increased as compared between December and first week of February. In the last over one month more than 350 militants, most of them foreign mercenaries, had sneaked into Jammu and Kashmir from across Kupwara, Poonch and Rajouri districts.
What has gone unreported is the way large groups of people from the remote areas of Kupwara-Handwara belt in west Kashmir and from the upper reaches of the Poonch, Rajouri and Udhampur areas had migrated to safer areas. The migrants belong to both Hindu and Muslim communities. The killing of the woman and her three daughters at Morha Bachal in Surankot led to migration of over 30 families comprising nearly 200 fled to Poonch.
Defence Ministry sources said foreign mercenaries had been directed by agencies from across the border to attack soft targets to force civilians not to cooperate with the security forces and the civil administration. The sources said after the ISI realised that militants, including foreign mercenaries, could not fight the Indian security forces they were asked to carry out massacres of innocent people to create terror which could keep the Kashmir issue "alive."
The sources said the way four women were killed had confirmed that slitting open their throats and cutting their limbs by knives was the work of foreign mercenaries. These mercenaries were highly paid and had to show results which they could by killing innocent people. These acts and other incidents of extortion, including rape by foreign mercenaries, had led to the widening of the distance between the local militants and the Afghan and Pak mercenaries. At present the leadership of militants is in the hands of foreign mercenaries, especially in Poonch and Rajouri districts.
Observers here are of the opinion that Pak agencies were not happy with the Lahore Declaration. These agencies aided by the Pak military authorities and the ISI were keen either to sabotage the Lahore Declaration or force India to give concessions to Pakistan during future talks.
The only thing that seems
to hold hope for a better tomorrow is that the execution
of innocent people in a barbaric fashion continues to
generate anti-Pakistan and anti-militant sentiments. It
was once again witnessed in the Surankot area where
groups of people shouted anti-Pakistan and
anti-insurgency slogans. Security experts said once the
foreign mercenaries lost the locals of Pak-sponsored
proxy war would meet an early end.
JAMMU, April 3 (PTI) In a grisly act, three girls were raped and later hacked to death along with their mother and a neighbour at Surankote in Poonch district last night, officials said.
Over 20 assailants, wearing masks, swooped down on village Mora Bichayie, 19 Km from Surankote, and looked for one Mohammad Zaman, they said.
On not finding him in the house, they made inquiries about his whereabouts from his family. When they failed to elicit any response, they assaulted Zamans three daughters in presence of their mother, the officials said.
Later, they slaughtered the three girls, their mother and a neighbour they said.
The dead were Barkat Bi, wife of Zaman, her three daughters Gulshan Akhtar, Shakeela Akhtar and Parveen Akhtar and neighbour Abdul Gani.
to boost tourism
MANSAR, April 3 The annual three-day Mansar mela was inaugurated on the banks of the Mansar Lake, 60 km from Jammu, yesterday, Mr T Namgyal, Minister of Estate for Tourism, inaugurated the mela. The inauguration ceremony was marked by a colourful procession Mr Namgyal, lit the traditional lamp to mark the opening of cultural programmes.
Talking to the mediapersons, Mr Namgyal said a 20-year prospective plan had been drawn up to promote tourism in the Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir regions. He said adequate tourist infrastructure would be created and upgraded under the plan to give a fillip to the tourism industry. He said the state government was interested in ensuring maximum stay of the tourists at Katra-Vaishno Devi and other tourist places.
He said since the installation of the popular government in the state, tourist influx to the Kashmir valley has increased from 16,000 in 1977 to 1.10 lakh last year and hoped this would reach 3 lakh this year.
Mr Parvez Dewan, Commissioner Secretary, Tourism, said the main objective of hosting the mela was to give a fillip to the tourism industry in the Jammu region. He said such melas would prove a milestone in the promotion of tourism in the state.
Mr Dewan claimed that about 6,000 visitors had visited the mela on the first day and hoped that nearly 40,000 tourists would visit the mela in three days. He, however, denied that the 6,000 visitors gathered on the first day of the mela were the organisers and their relatives.
Mr Dewan said tourists places like Kud and Patnitop had become popular among the visitors and the state government was trying to promote tourism in the surrounding areas like Shiv Khori, Purmandal, Mansar etc. "With the cooperation of the hotel industry, we are hopeful of achieving good results in the tourism sector," he said.
The main attraction of the mela, which was first started in 1993, is the Odissi dance performance by Madhumita Raut, who is running a dance school in Frankfurt, Germany, Besides, the festival is offering camel and horse riding, yachting display, wild life corner, wrestling competitions, canoeing and kayakjing, band concerts, etc.
Cultural programmes by the artistes of the state Information and a song and Drama Division would also be performed. Photo exhibitions had also been organised by the Information Department, J&K Tourism and field publicity unit of the Government of India.
Mr VK Garg, president, Jammu, Hotel Restaurant and Bar Association said he was hopeful that tourism-related activities would pick up with the organising of such melas.
Director General Tourism, Mr Mohammad Ashraf, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Mr BB Jaswal, JKTDC Managing Director, Mr Khursheed Naqeeb, District Development Commissioner, Udhampur, Mr Mehboob Iqbal, Joint Director Information, Mr Narinder Singh, Maj Gen Goverdhan Singh Jamwal, Mr ML Dogra, Assistant Director, Song and Drama Division, Government of India, Mr Satpal Lakhotra, MLA and Mr Ravi Mahajan, senior vice president, Jammu Hotel and Bar Association were also present.
wastage of central funds
SRINAGAR, April 3 Seeking an election for "true representatives" of Jammu and Kashmir, former Chief Minister and president of the Awami National Conference (ANC) Ghulam Mohammad Shah here yesterday sought tripartite talks to resolve the Kashmir issue. He also sought fresh but "free elections" in the state to give a proper administration to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
"It (Kashmir issue) cannot be solved unless people of Jammu and Kashmir become active participants", Ghulam Mohammad Shah said while addressing a press conference at the party's central office here yesterday. He added that the issue was not only five decade-old but had been there since 1486.
In view of various suggestions on the Kashmir issue, the ANC leader sought to give full autonomy to the Kashmir valley along with POK, Kargil, Doda, Poonch and Rajouri districts making it a 'greater Kashmir'. He said the Ladakh area should remain with India and Gilgit with Pakistan. Mr Shah also sought the creation of a "Dogra desh" comprising Jammu, Udhampur and Kathua districts combining it with Himachal Pradesh. "This will open the way for solution of the problem on geographical lines", he said. "ANC desires an honourable and acceptable solution which would be in tune with the wishes of all concerned parties. And such a solution can only be found by negotiations on a tripartite basis.... as long as the people of the state are not recognised as the principal party to the dispute, no solution ever would be practicable. Therefore, for a realistic and practical solution, negotiations on a tripartite basis have become unavoidable", Mr Shah stated.
The Awami National Conference leader criticised National Conference government headed by Chief Minister and his own brother-in-law, Dr Farooq Abdullah, for its anti-people economic policies.
The former Chief Minister alleged that crores of rupees in the shape of sales tax had not been recovered and half the amount was payable by their own colleagues, friends and relatives.
"For which development works a sum of Rs 25 lakh per legislator has been released and where is the account of such sums? By such ways and means, the state legislator has become an unbearable burden on the people.
"Why many people along with their families, who had participated in the so-called elections, have been lodged in plush hotels of Srinagar and why the entire financial burden is being put on the state exchequer?
"Why do the state treasuries demand bribes from government/semi-government departments as well as common persons for payment of their certified cheques, which are in any case due to them? Is this not the only state in India, where corruption has gone to such unprecedented heights?
"Let Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee ask the self-styled Sultan-e-Kashmir, why the city forest built at the cost of Rs 18 crore was demolished and a golf course was built at the place, incurring another Rs 18 crore, when a famous gold course already exists in Srinagar?"
Mr Shah expressed concern
over the problems faced by the transport industry,
cottage industry, hike in electric tariff, ration and
other essential commodities, the plight of government
employees and misuse of funds under various heads in
construction works and other fields, and also the plight
of the youth in jails. He expressed concern over the
increasing number of killings in the state at the hands
of security forces, damage to immovable property and
outraging the modesty of women in the valley.
decries J&K Budget
SRINAGAR, April 3 Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Chairman of the National Front Jammu and Kashmir, here today described the recently announced state Budget as "part of a planned conspiracy against the people of Jammu and Kashmir".
Addressing a press conference here today, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, a former associate of Shabir Ahmad Shah, said New Delhi was "bent upon letting loose economic terrorism on the people of Jammu and Kashmir" for which the Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, was being used as a tool.
Nayeem Khan, was the first separatist leader who criticised the budget proposals saying it as the "bigger conspiracy" against the people of the state who had "launched a movement against repression". The All Party Hurriyat Conference has not commented on the Budget proposals. "Our efforts against economic repression will continue", Nayeem Ahmad Khan said, adding that his party would come out with a "definite programme" in this connection.
In reply to a question, Nayeem Ahmad Khan said the National Front would be supporting the Hurriyat Conference if the APHC takes any "move" against the economic policies of the government. "Our role is supplementary to the Hurriyat", Nayeem Khan replied.
The National Front Jammu and Kashmir leader also sought peoples cooperation on providing relief to the orphans of the "present movement" in the state.
Shabir Ahmad Shah here
recently distributed over Rs 50 lakh to the victims of
militancy in three districts of Srinagar, Budgam and
Kupwara. The two have been close associates in the
Peoples League, which has now split into several groups,
with these two top ranking leaders constituting separate
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